Bridging mainstream and formal ontology: A causality-based upper ontology in Dietrich of Freiberg

Journal of Knowledge Structures and Systems 2 (2):35 (2021)
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Ontologies are some of the most central constructs in today's large plethora of knowledge technologies, namely in the context of the semantic web. As their coinage indicates, they are direct heirs to the ontological investigations in the long Western philosophical tradition, but it is not easy to make bridges between them. Contemporary ontological commitments often take causality as a central aspect for the ur-segregation of entities, especially in scientific upper ontologies; theories of causality and philosophical ontological investigations often go hand-in-hand, and were essentially inseparable in medieval thought. This constitutes the foundation for a bridge, and this article analyzes the causality-based ontology of the late medieval philosopher Dietrich of Freiberg from the viewpoint of today's upper-ontology engineering. In this bridging attempt, it offers a translation into English of the first part of Dietrich's De origine (abbreviated title) that is a compromise between traditional scholarly translations of medieval Latin philosophical texts and contemporary ontology.

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Luis M. Augusto
Independent Scientist


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